Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

The Ghost of Hatred Past

Posted on | January 17, 2011 | No Comments

Just like a ghost springing forth from our tumultuous past, six distinct acts of vandalism were perpetrated against Montreal’s Jewish community recently. Windows were shattered not only in synagogues, but in a school and a daycare centre as well.

These circumstances always make Québécois uneasy, with reason. Even though we were on the good side of history during World War II, it was often through conscription that French Canadians where then sent abroad to fight. The anti-Semitism spread by Lionel Groulx or even Adrien Arcand, founder of the Christian National Socialist party, were then far from extremist for most of the population.

These hate crimes are even more unexplainable as Canada casts itself as a welcoming land, a shelter were past grudges are unwelcome. Some commentators tried to link this series of event to the Palestinian crisis, chiefly because of a boycott called recently against a shoe store selling goods made in Israel. It may be too early to validate this hypothesis, however.

In any case, I’d like to know how shattering a school’s window is going to help in any way Palestinian children. I’d also like to understand how somebody can be as dimwitted as to believe that such a simplistic and futile act of violence can constitute an appropriate answer to the events unfolding in the Near East and their astonishingly complex historical background.

I wrote last week that empathy, not fear, should motivate our actions in the XXIst century. Montreal’s rock-throwing hotheads may try to raise fear, but deserve in the end nothing but scorn. My empathy is always for the victims, at home and abroad.

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